Bullen v. Wisconsin
240 U.S. 625 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bullen v. Wisconsin, 240 U.S. 625 (1916)

Bullen v. Wisconsin

No. 262

Argued March 8, 1916

Decided April 10, 1916

240 U.S. 625

Syllabus

A deed made by a resident of one state to a person of another state as trustee for certain beneficiaries of personal property consisting of stocks and bonds, donor retaining income for life and power of appointment, and providing that no portion of principal or income be paid over to any person before the donor's death unless by his direction, held not to amount to a transfer of the property, and the courts of the donor's state did not err in sustaining the imposition of an inheritance tax under the law of that state on the whole fund as upon a transfer intended to take effect in enjoyment after the donor's death.

A case is on one side of a statutory line or the other, and if on the safe side, it is none the worse legally because the full measure of what the law permits is availed of; to condemn an act as an evasion, it must be on the wrong side of the line as indicated by the policy, if not by the mere letter of the law.

Notwithstanding such deed of trust and that the trustee had possession in the other the certificates of stock and bonds and that state had imposed an inheritance tax thereon owing to the situs thereof, held that the imposition of the inheritance tax by the state in which the donor resided was not unconstitutional either as impairing the obligation of contract or as depriving the beneficiaries of their property without due process of law.

143 Wis. 512 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under

Page 240 U. S. 626

the due process provision of the Fourteenth Amendment of an inheritance tax fixed upon the estate of a resident of the Wisconsin, are stated in the opinion.

Page 240 U. S. 629

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